Tag Archives: racial stereotypes

Interracial Porn: Holding Us Back While Getting Us Off? (Pt 1)

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

I am by no means an expert on porn, nor do I pretend to be. Yet considering the volume of hits on xtube.com or youporn.com that could be traced back to my IP address, one would assume so. If not that, one would at least be able to mentally file away my name with all the other people in the “creepy” category. Some of you may be wondering about this new obsession of mine that has developed during my period of hiatus, but I can fortunately hold someone else partially responsible.

In November of 2007, Courtney, a contributing blogger for Feministing, reviewed a book aptly titled Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity by Robert Jensen. Much like fellow feminist theorist, the late Andrea Dworkin, Jensen considers pornography a visual manifestation of misogyny—hatred of women captured on film. With sexual arousal distracting the viewer, acts of violence and subjugation of women are interpreted through a different lens than, say, if they were portrayed minus the element of sex. Yet also like Dworkin, Jensen’s work borders on misandrist, stating as his major thesis that “If men are going to be full human beings, we first have to stop being men.” Using pornography as a microcosmic representation of the world as a whole, at least insofar as relationships between men and women are concerned, Jensen proposes that masculinity must be abandoned altogether as, in his opinion, it is inextricably linked to a world in which women are viewed as stupid, submissive, and deserving of abuse.

I agree with Courtney in her mention of the many loopholes within the book, in particular her comments regarding women who enjoy submission or even pain during sex. I also concur with regard to her discussion of images and scenarios within pornography playing out in real life. Many once-taboo subjects and sex acts, including, but not limited to, threesomes or multi-partner sex, anal sex, BDSM, and even the use and purchase of sex toys, have become mainstream. Porn is not entirely the culprit, but its proliferation has certainly aided Americans in their burgeoning sexual open-mindedness. With an orgasm only a click away, pornography has experienced a similar transformation to that of the music industry, with the creation of mp3s and pirate sites, and the film and tv industry, with the onslaught of youtube and bootleg dvds of sidewalk entrepreneurs.

After reading Courtney’s review of Getting Off (which you can read, in full, here) I wanted to take Jensen’s argument a bit further. Despite my disagreeing with him on some points, I felt that Jensen’s thoughts on gender roles in porn could be easily applied to the use of race in porn, particularly interracial porn. Following his thesis, in short, that masculinity by definition supports a system of misogyny, a characteristic clearly demonstrated in (straight) pornography, and the only way to progress beyond this conveyance of hatred toward women is to eradicate masculinity in its entirety, I came up with the following: Continue reading

Notes on Fostering Activism – Bringing Our Voices to the Page, Stage, and Screen

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

The Notes on Fostering Activism series is designed to open up dialogue regarding community action, activism, patterns of thought, and overlapping issues within various causes and communities. Some posts will deal with race, but some will not. All are encouraged to share their experiences – both here, and experiences in other social, cultural, or political communities.

In writing and researching the Cashmere Mafia piece, I ran across an article from Newsday (originally from the LA Times) titled “Diversity Issue Dogs Creators of New TV Shows.”

Written late last year, it appears that most of the story is still accurate:

HOLLYWOOD – Race relations are taking a starring role in several new culturally tinged series this fall. Fox’s “K-Ville,” ABC’s “Cavemen,” CBS’ “Cane” and The CW’s “Aliens in America” and “Life Is Wild” couldn’t be more different in incorporating cultural flavor. “Cane” examines the criminal dealings of a loving Cuban family, while “Aliens in America” is a satirical look at the prejudice that greets the arrival of a Pakistani student in a small town. “Life Is Wild” follows a white family that moves to Africa.

And “Cavemen” has been labeled by network president Stephen McPherson and ABC’s marketing department as a funny commentary about race relations with a “new minority group.” In one respect, the new shows are different from series already on the air, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” that take place in a “color-blind” world, in that they will confront race, cultural pride and conflict directly.

But with all five shows, it’s not a person of color who will be steering that vision – as with much of network television, the series have white male show runners.

Show runners, like writers and producers, help to shape the final product we see hitting our screens every week. While the scribes for the show may have one idea for the direction and casting of the show, the show runners and lead producers also have input and sway and tend to make changes with impunity. Getting a perspective on race on television from one of them would be fascinating, right?

Unfortunately, the resounding answer from all the studio people in the the know will be a brusque “no comment:” Continue reading

Amy Winehouse’s drug addiction is “a familiar black stereotype?”

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

You gotta read Lauren’s excellent post on Stereohyped, in response to James Hannaham’s recent Salon piece in which he had this to say about singer Amy Winehouse (emphasis mine):

Winehouse answers that question by digging deep for scraps of authenticity. In addition to foregrounding her knowledge of R&B history in her lyrics, she mines her personal experiences for material, naming names, keeping those names in the news, and in the process, all but eliminates the barrier between biography and artistic expression, tabloid and Billboard. Only a complete novice could wonder what her songs mean, to which events they refer, or about whom they are written. Meanwhile, she acts out and “keeps it real” by defending her drug and alcohol addictions, and by standing by her jailed ne’er-do-well husband. The whole package smells like a bizarre simulation of a familiar black stereotype.

Wha? This is why I love Lauren – check out what she wrote in response:

To me, she’s not simulating some familiar black stereotype, she is the embodiment of a familiar white one. But I guess I’m wrong.

Winehouse’s musical influences are black, so her sad, sad behavior can be boiled down to her being a little Jewish girl embracing drugs and rejecting her culture in a desperate-but-failed attempt to “keep it real.” Because white people, let alone famous (Jewish) ones, never engage in harmful drug use or marry ne’er-do-wells. If they did, white people like Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty and Lindsay Lohan would be criticized just as much as black hip hop stars for being terrible influences on the children who love their movies and music. Instead, they get pass after pass and often sympathy for what is seen as some isolated problem instead of what it really is, which is flat-out criminal behavior of the sort that non-famous people, particularly non-famous black people (or famous black people, for that matter) actually get sent to prison for.

But go read the rest here.

Kid Nation meets Indians

by guest contributor Rob Schmidt, originally published at Newspaper Rock

Usually I don’t watch reality shows. They’re too hokey and manipulative for my taste. But I had to look when the penultimate episode of Kid Nation (airdate: 12/5/07) featured Indians.

If you don’t know the premise of Kid Nation, it’s simple. A bunch of kids have been “left alone” to “pioneer” in a Western “town” set up in the “wilderness” near Santa Fe. “40 Kids! 40 Days! No Adults!” is the show’s tagline.

I use quotes because it’s obvious the whole thing is staged. One adult acts as a moderator on-screen and other adults are just off-screen: holding cameras and asking questions. Knowing little about the show, I’d guess that every scene is planned and executed by a director with a script. The kids have some latitude about what to say but they’re basically puppets.

How contrived is Kid Nation? In the episode’s inevitable competition, the kids have an hour to move shacks from one location to another. What are the odds that the last team will complete the task with exactly one second to spare? Pretty good if it’s a staged “reality show.”

Indians to the rescue?

As “Where’s Bonanza, Dude?” opens, it’s Day 35 of 40. Led by a “town council,” the faux Bonanza City seems to be under control. Why then are the kids checking an “1885 journal” for help?

Supposedly written by Bonanza City’s first settlers, the journal says the townsfolk failed to explore beyond the outpost’s borders. It advises the readers to seek out the people who lived there “centuries before us.” It even includes a map.

In theory, this is a valid idea. America’s plucky but ignorant pioneers often relied on the Indians they met. Starting with John Smith at Jamestown, they frequently had to find help or die.

Using Indians as practical and philosophical guides from the beginning would’ve been a worthwhile approach. But the show is almost over. What possible aid could the Indians provide at this point? It’s hard to imagine.

The premise might as well have a flashing red light and blinking sign that says “gratuitous.” It’s painfully obvious that this is going to be a gimmick. Apparently the show’s creators want to get the town council off stage for an hour so the other kids can shine. They might as well have sent these pseudo-leaders to the mall.

Igloo or teepee?

So the town’s four honchos wander off into the semi-tame “wilderness.” (I suspect it’s grazing land on a ranch.) Eventually they come over a rise and spot…what? “It looks like an igloo,” guesses one boy. No, it’s…teepees.

Is there a single child in America who couldn’t tell an igloo from a teepee? I doubt it. But let’s assume the show’s creators found the one kid dumb enough to make this mistake. Let’s pretend it wasn’t a scripted moment. CONTINUE READING >>

Heroes recap of episode 211: Powerless

by guest contributor Elton

Heroes Volume 2, “Generations,” is over.

The season began with an exciting change of scenery, as Hiro Nakamura accidentally teleported to feudal Japan and met the legendary Sword Saint, Takezo Kensei, who turned out to be a lying, cheating, spiteful scoundrel of an Englishman named Adam Monroe. As Hiro tried to repair history and turn Adam into the heroic Kensei of legend, his brave deeds won the heart of their mutual love interest, the swordsmith’s daughter Yaeko, and Hiro himself became immortalized (figuratively speaking) as Kensei. Hiro and Yaeko’s love incurred the wrath of the jealous Adam, who swore on his life that he would bring misery and suffering to Hiro and all that he held dear.

Adam, the first man to discover his special ability, has survived through the ages because of it, and four hundred years later, he has founded a Company dedicated to finding and tracking others with special abilities. But Adam has a hidden agenda – fueled by his desire for revenge on Hiro and his bitter cynicism as a result of living through four centuries of human suffering, Adam plans to use the vast talents and resources of the Company to destroy most of humanity and “wipe the slate clean.” When the Company realizes this, they lock up Adam and throw away the key. Thirty years later, Adam recruits Peter, a son of Company founders Angela and Arthur Petrelli, in his quest to escape and release the deadly Shanti virus.

The season finale begins with the other bad guy’s quest to regain his powers. Sylar has recruited Maya Herrera, an irritatingly naive Dominican who has journeyed with him to Dr. Suresh’s apartment in Brooklyn to ask the good doctor for a cure to her cursed powers. Maya feels a kinship with (and attraction to) Sylar because they have both killed people with their powers, but she does not realize that Sylar is only using her to get to Dr. Suresh so that his powers, neutralized by the Shanti virus, can be restored.

Mohinder knows full well that Sylar killed his father, and having battled Sylar before, wants to be sure that Maya understands exactly what Sylar wants. Ever faithful, she believes that Sylar only wants to be cured of his sickness and lets slip that his powers are gone. Upon hearing this, Mohinder tries to attack Sylar with a knife, only to be met with a Company gun. Sylar reveals his true intention of regaining his abilities so that he can continue his power-hungry murder spree, and forces Mohinder, Maya, and Molly to Mohinder’s lab, formerly the apartment of precognitive artist Issac Mendez, one of Sylar’s many victims. Continue reading

What do you think of this Kahlua ad?

by guest contributor HighJive, originally published at MultiCultClassics

Not too sure about this new Kahlúa campaign from Publicis New York. Granted, it’s no Bud Light “Zagar and Steve,” but it’s a pretty curious way to communicate the liqueur’s pre-Colombian heritage. There’s a really bad spot receiving lots of airtime right now that isn’t online yet—but this video is the launch commercial.

Writer’s strike video relies on tired old stereotypes

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

As many of you have probably heard, the Writers Guild of America has been on strike. As part of their campaign, they have put together a series of online videos feature A-list actors. Check out this one, starring Holly Hunter.

I’m left scratching my head, wondering what the heck this issue has to do with outsourcing to India? And why exactly does the writers guild need to mock one profession to make a case for fair compensation of their own work? (Thanks to Angie for the tip!)